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Fifteen people have been arrested in Spain as part of a Europol crackdown on tennis match-fixing, and the authorities say that another 68 are under investigation.
The bust includes 28 professional tennis players, most likely lower level ITF circuit players but also one "who took part in the most recent US Open," according to a statement from the Spanish Civil Guard.
Guardia Civil #Madrid desmantela una red que se dedicaba a sobornar a tenistas profesionales de categorías Challenger y Futures para realizar apuestas masivas en partidos y torneos. Hay 15 detenidospic.twitter.com/y0GbcqkJtP— Guardia Civil ???????? (@guardiacivil) January 10, 2019
That statement said the arrests included the "leaders of the organization," and alleged that Spanish tennis player Marc Fornell-Mestres, a former world No. 236, was responsible for contacts between the fixers and players. Now ranked below the Top 1000, he was provisionally suspended in 2018 by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), which prompted Europol to begin its investigation in 2017.
The raids on 11 houses also led to the seizure of $192,000, five cars, and the suspension of 40 bank accounts. The suspects are a group of Armenians, involved in fixing at least 97 matches at the lower levels of the game, according to Europol.
Another group of Armenians, this time in Belgium, was arrested and charged by Belgian authorities during a Europol investigation in 2018, accompanied by more arrests in the Netherlands. Those also involved lower level match-fixing in tennis.
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